Archer Daniels Midland Company

Howard Buffett's millions help jump-start Decatur's recovery

Howard Buffett's millions help jump-start Decatur's recovery

When Mandy Christian left Decatur in 2005, she swore she'd never move back to the shrinking city.

The county seat nearly smack dab in the middle of the state didn't have much going for it, Christian thought, and it had a bad reputation when it came to crime.

Yet there was Christian, now 35, sitting on the grass on a muggy June evening amid a drifting cloud of bubbles at a park just outside the city limits. Her 5-year-old son, Caleb, danced around her, his attention torn between the free concert on the park's stage and the bubbles exploding from the machine next to his mom.

The marketing campaign that helped change Christian's mind about the industrial-agricultural city...

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